The appeal of steel

By Riverine Herald

PETER Godfrey has lived and breathed steel for almost 40 years now.

And for 17 of those years, he’s brought his expertise to Echuca-Moama.

‘‘I’ve been in steel since I was 21,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve been a salesman or managed steel companies, it’s always what I’ve done.’’

So when he moved to Echuca in 2002 for a better climate and family life, it was a no-brainer for him to share his steel nous with the community.

And so he and father-in-law Alistair Morrison (former owner of Morrisons Winery) decided to buy Elliott’s Steel and establish Metaland.

And in less than two decades, the business has flourished from a small steel reseller to a principal supplier for farmers, manufacturers, welders and builders across the region.

‘‘When we purchased the business, we had four people working for us,’’ Peter said.

‘‘Now we have 10. Plus we employ a casual kid for after-hours work.’’

It’s been a vital training ground for some of the twin towns’ future businessmen.

‘‘From working here we’ve seen kids go on to secure electrical and plumbing apprenticeships, because when tradesmen come in to buy something they can quickly see what a kid’s work ethic is like,’’ Peter said.

‘‘Four of our former employees now run their own businesses in town.’’

In addition to supplying the steel, Metaland also go above and beyond to cut it to size, crop and punch it.

They also deliver in an 80km radius, travelling as far as Koondrook, Mathoura and Mooroopna.

And with Echuca-Moama continuing to blossom, Peter said there’s always room for Metaland to grow with it.

In the meantime, he doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.

‘‘I’m 60 but I still wake up in the morning and love coming to work,’’ he said.

Echuca Metaland is open Monday to Friday 7.30am to 5pm, Saturday 9am to 12pm and closed Sunday.